Saturday, 1 December 2007

One Million Years B.C. (1966)

One Million Years B.C. was one of the most expensive movies made by England’s Hammer Studios, and it was a gamble that paid off at the box office. Whether you like this movie depends very much on whether you’re a fan of the stop-motion animation techniques of the legendary Ray Harryhausen. If you are, you’ll love it – there’s lots of it in this movie, and Harryhausen did a very fine job of it (although unfortunately on a couple of occasions they resorted to using blowups of common iguanas, which looked like blowups of common iguanas). It does have other things going for it, though, and I don’t just mean Raquel Welch in a fur bikini although she does look rather fetching). There’s some rather nice location shooting, done in the Canary Islands I believe, and it’s visually surprisingly impressive, and the visuals still hold up pretty well. Some skilful use of colour as well. One of the more interesting things about the movie is the almost total lack of dialogue, apart from grunts. It was a fairly brave thing to do, but it works quite well. OK, the plot is pretty basic, but even telling such a basic story without dialogue (and without even the title cards they had in the silent days) is a challenge. The actors do a reasonable job of it, and although Ms Welch might not be held in terrifically high esteem as an actress she acquits herself quite adequately. The plot involves a romance (well, it’s about as romantic as you can really imagine a caveman and a cavewoman getting) who come from two different warring tribes, spiced up with encounters with dinosaurs. Overall it’s entertaining, it looks good, it moves along at a brisk pace and as long as you don’t let the idea of humans and dinosaurs living at the same time upset you too much there’s plenty of fun to be had.

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